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White House Chronicles

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Us 5, China 4, America 4, Paris 3, New York 3, At&t 2, Paul Dickson 2, Linda Gasparello 2, Europe 2, Rome 2, Asia 2, Etc. 2, Npr 1, Sirius 1, Appalled 1, Soviet Union 1, P. Il Shar 1, Harry Truman 1, Morris 1, Woody Allen 1,
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  WETA    White House Chronicles    News/Business. Wisdom  
   and wit from leaders.  

    July 31, 2011
    9:00 - 9:30am EDT  

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captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> i have always thought of myself as a futurist, seeming to know what is going to happen in the future, but sometimes i catch myself thinking, i would really like to pass. maybe i am not a man of the future. maybe i am and 19th century man trying to get into the 18th century. it all depends on what has
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happened in the past to fixate on. the wonderful woody allen movie where you can choose between the 1920's in paris or the bell a pocket of the 1890's in paris -- belle epoch of the 1890's in paris. i came down on that side, because there is something harried about the 1920's with europe crowded between two wars, whereas there was so much hope, so much futurism in the 1890's. all things had been conquered and the possibilities were and less. there was science, exploration. human affairs or how they were organized -- alas, it was only the introduction, the prelude, a to a terrible century, the 20th century, the largest killing of people other and the largest population, and probably the century in which more people
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lived better than had ever lived at all before, a century a very mixed results. today, we are going to look at the future with two brilliant, fabulous, interesting future arrests. at least, i think that is what they are. we might find out otherwise. we will be right back. >> and now, a nationally syndicated columnist llewellyn king and co-host, linda gasparello. >> this program is sponsored by arizona public service, a renewed -- a leader in renewable energy, working to make arizona the solar capital of the world. thank you for coming along. i promised you two extraordinary
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people, and i have them right here with me. for 10 years, he was a congressman from indiana. he and i first met back in those days when we were looking at energy issues. since then, he has moved on and now works at the gloriously pretentious in name resources for the future -- as if they could get that right. they tended to do some studies and stuff which i am sure are of enormous importance to other people who do studies and stuff. welcome. p.il shar a and paul dickson, the author of 58 books, including one i am particularly fond of, "sputnik: the shock of the century,"
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talking about game changers or technology that changes everything. and, "the hidden language of baseball's." on this program, we talked about euphemisms for drinking liquor. something they need a bond congress but do not have -- the need on congress but do not have any more. we got more responses to that than on anything else of this program. there is a thirst up there for this knowledge, so to speak. what do you see in the future? >> when you look at the landscape, it is easy to think that the sky is falling. i think it is awfully easy to fall into the mafia is in -- malfeasance point of view that the population is too much.
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we will not be able to feed them. we will not have the resources for competition. >> that is something a philosopher laid out in 1800, and really was responsible for the devastating effects of the irish potato famine because he said it was natural, do not send food. >> do not send food or you'll encourage the population to grow. >> the theory keeps popping up. with the club of rome, limited growth, all of the things of the 1970's and early 1980's. those arguments being made. we have reached the limits. when you look around, there are some very serious questions about how we manage the resources of this world and whether we're going to be capable. but we also have noticed a history in which somehow we adapt, somehow we keep moving forward. while we cannot imagine it in our own lifetime, things change. >> i imagine a slightly different reality. i wonder if there is any danger
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that we will slide into a new dark age, and the medieval time where we do not continue the progression of learning, science, emancipation from myth. >> i worry a little bit about that, but i think that is more of a worm's eye view. just looking at my own life, my children's life, my own experiences, one thing i worry about is basically watching the innovative class and that since world war two and america really was funded largely by things like the gi bill of rights and then after sputnik the national education act. i've been very perplexed recently about the decline of the middle class in terms of education, in terms of using the class to really create the new scientists, the new people who
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create biotechnology, who create lasers, things like that. one big barometer for me was -- i just went back to my college for my 50th reunion. the college is now $55,000 a year. i went to a private school in new york because we were having some troubles to the -- troubles with the public school. the private school is now $40,000 a year. i look at this. i go back to a college and see students in their suvs and realize we may be creating a plutocracy. you're really good colleges are mostly for the people with a lot of money or the very talented people without money. the football players, the violinist, etc.. i worry that we may be losing that pole vault the people got out of the working class into
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the working -- into the middle class. >> i agree with you. journalism -- which we were talking about before we went on the air that right after world war ii a lot of people to started in journalism without going to college. now you can i get into a newsroom unless you have a degree, ideally -- you cannot get into a newsroom unless you have a degree, ideally a good degree. people like me could not get in here anymore. i did work for "the washington post," but then i had already overcome my lack of formal education. i think we're boxing ourselves in. i also worry about this constant harping on math and science, math and science as if there is nothing more to the human condition. >> one quick thing though, which
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is to suggest that you never know how things are going to change. we find people breaking in because they are now able to get attention on the internet because of something they wrote, some video they created, in which they are able to circumvent these blocks. >> i am always interested in how the water gets around this town. >> i do think however we're at a point where we have so proliferated our university structures that they are in for a major comeuppance because they out priced themselves -- not intentionally -- but they are providing some many things, and trying to change the curriculum is harder than giving a cemetery. >> i have been lucky to speak at some of the major universities. i include harvard, yale, mit, amazing places. but the strike me as being enormously inefficient. you cannot find this professor because he is consulting the federal government.
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that one is doing something else. the kids are turning around waiting for somebody to give the lecture. in the real world, we would not put up with that. an old friend of mine went back to school. she had to get a degree for a job. she had a degree, but she went back. she is very hard minded. she is able to study in ignore everything. i said, what is it like? she said, it is fine, but you are mad with the casualness, the off handedness, the general sense of tomorrow or whenever. the inefficiency. she had been to rome, new york, baltimore. she was appalled at the inefficiency. nobody said anything except universities are good. bring them more money. universities are good. bring them more money. >> i think that is a difficult pattern, but i would argue that there again come under pressure from students, financiers, and
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others, administrations are starting to crack down and say, excuse me, you do not have a lifetime gift here to teach. you're not performing. that, i think, is going to be more of the future. if it is not, we're going to go into decline. those universities have been for us as americans a huge attraction and a huge benefit of around the world. >> i employed a couple of student interns of the last couple of summers. i use them as researchers and i actually pay them unlike big corporations that do not. >> i have always paid my interns. i think it is awful that people are indentured without pay. >> i'm not sure i could get them for free. >> you are a liberal and year tendencies are like that. >> by your building a plutocracy. -- but you are building a plutocracy. kids who want to work for npr or
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pbs have to have enough money so that they do not have to go to work in the summer. i used to hold an elevator -- i used to work at an elevator factory. i would tell my professors that is what i did over the summer, and there would be a horrible chortle. i once worked in the copper wire factory. i need money to pay for school. now with the internship thing, it is remarkable. i wanted to say that the intern's i have been working with, they are really concerned about things like student debt. one of them said they call it financial aid, but it is a 7% non-negotiable loan. they do not have that gap year anymore. a lot of them are borrowed to the hilt. did they come out and they cannot play around. they cannot make a movie. they cannot go to europe.
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they cannot have fun for a year before they enter the workplace or even experiment with what they want to do. >> we're going to have some station identification, particularly for our listeners on sirius xm radio. this program can be seen of theide on the station's government network, voice of america. and on 300 american stations public and public access. i am talking to phil sharp, a sometime congressman, now head of resources for the future, and my friend and author paul
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dickson. you have to look at the past to see the future. i was rather denigrating your organization, resources for the future. can you tell us a little bit about it and then i will really go for it? >> we have economists working on natural resources and environmental issues. we -- our scholars to independent work. they do not take my direction or the funders direction or anything. historically, we will have better and 60 years next year. our -- we will have been around 60 years next year. our scholars have come up with a number of concepts about how to more effectively pursue our environmental controls he didn't learn until calls by using the market. our environmental controls by
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using the market. our organization was created by harry truman in the 1950's, concerned about that very proposition. if anything, our historic contribution has been to say that nothing is clear. people who say it is black and white how much oil is out there, it is not. it all depends on how you manage it, how you use it, how is developed, whether it is therefore the future or not. >> and destructive technologies. >> absolutely. this is what makes me positive, or at least unwilling to buy into the hand-wringing about what is happening today. individuals are constantly figuring out what to do. >> you spend a lot of time talking to people in the space program. what is going to be the impact on society?
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>> i was just in pasadena, and there were people in the hotel from the jet propulsion laboratory. that is the prize. they are going to explore the planet's. their machines get bigger and morris sensitive. -- more sensitive. they use these machines -- we do not say unmanned -- they are un-crewed. >> you are a writer. >> robotic, that is what i mean. the shuttle was basically coming to terms with the soviet union. we're using for
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the international space station are run by russian cabdrivers, driving is back and forth, putting our people up there. >> they're not offering some of the ancillary services like are offered in moscow. >> whether or not we go to mars i think is a huge debate. it has been brought up several times. there are people inside these organizations come manasseh included, who worry that the radiation will -- organizations, nasa included, who worry about the radiation. but think about it, all of the cell phones, ipods, iphones, those are all run by satellites. this is the benefit we got from the space age. >> paul has written about
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sputnik and the impact it has on our society. today we are able to identify all the resources. what is happening in the oceans. earth observation is becoming a whole new ballooning area of scientific inquiry which has very practical consequences for this in terms of how we manage our resources. >> i was talking about new shortages or new concerns. lithium, rare earth, these are not in your portfolio 20 years ago. >> take a look at that, for example. look at it from an economic perspective instead of just a national security threat, because so much is being produced in china. >> there is also lithium in bolivia. >> it is here in america, canada, and all around the world. rare earths are not so rare, which is what we're discovering.
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at the moment, they have a pretty strong corner on the market, but they are going to lose that if they decide they want to keep the price too high. our government is looking at whether we need to reopen mines or create incentives. that is a solvable question, is what i am saying. >> one of the things that concerns me is that the government tries to push. yuen i have done a lot of work and energy. the coverage -- you and i have done a lot of work on energy. the government is always trying to push to develop technologies. we have been there many times in different ways. with the space program, the government said essentially to the contractors who did the work, this is what we want to do. we want to go to the man. get us there. that is something we've not
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succeeded in doing as well with energy. everything is, here is a little money, play with it. we have come up with a lot of fascinating but noneconomic problems. >> within a couple of months after sputnik, eisenhower created the advanced research projects agency. very early on, i did a book called think tanks. this is when the argonaut was being developed. at stanford, a guy was moving a huge thing around on the floor, a metal floor. the dog was moving around the screen. dot was moving around the screen. he said, we're going to call this a mouse and someday it will fit in your hand. the government was funding -- and our whole job was to prevent
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technological surprise. in the process, they created that and then after spending $100 million, they threw the keys out to the public. they did not give it to at&t. one of the developers of the internet said to me that the two things that happened for the internet or the fact that the government gave it away, just said, here it is, and the other is that it was not turned over to at&t or someone private because we would be paying $0.28 for every e-mail right now. i think there is a role for government. the center for disease control taking on orphan drugs that drug companies see no profit in. maybe there should be more things like that. >> you have both mentioned the government, which i happen to think does not do everything wrong. >> amen. >> the current view is nonsense,
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but i remember a very able neoconservatism saying in an aspen institute meeting that we should stop all this government research. it would be better in the private sector, etc. he went through 22 things, a straight up, that have changed our life because of government research that then we have given to the private sector. >> you get to where you mean on the government track before they intervene. in the private sector, they will tell you that profit motivated organizations cannot take certain risks and do big things that would have huge payoffs. that is our what began as part of our universities are about. -- that is part of what
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universities are about. >> one of the questions put to me all the time is asia, not where china is today or how india is emerging, but how is it that asia, all of it, vietnam, burma, slept, as it were, compared to the west, for all of history, and suddenly it is taking over? moon willpeople on the immun not be asian. they will be american. >> first of all, i think slept is not quite right. that is a very western, imperialists to view you british have. if you look around, high art has existed for hundreds of years in these societies. there's all kind of language, literature, stuff i cannot
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read, kind of thing. >> to make a very good point. >> of course, what we have seen is this radical change, and what most of us have seen in the west is the speed with which economic change has taken off. when i was in school, the question was why can these people not get it moving? well, they did. >> the softening of the economy was very important, and the fact that they decided they were going to become the manufacturing -- >> we also need to be aware of our loved/fiore of certain nations. ear of the -- love/f certain nations. it was the germans who did everything right, and then it was the japanese, and in a tank.
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they have been in the tank ever since financially. now it is china. if we had the chinese form of government, business would boom. he is a gambling man. >> he should put his money on that. looking at the past is useful, but the real question is, how is china going to change america? i have no question, no doubt, that it will have a profound affect. the question is, how do we respond to this? just how we responded to sputnik or not see germany -- nazi germany, i think we will see economic change and change to our universities because we sense competition. >> we also have a cultural mass,
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music, food, an enormous number of things that are changing profoundly. >> they're going to want to higher salaries, higher wages. >> i think they are going to go through all kinds of tips. >> what is next? should i say to you, scribble, scribble. >> my next book is about an extraordinary american called bill veck. he had a great impact on baseball. he owned four teams. he was also a major early mover on civil rights. he had a real impact on the culture in the way he dealt with the world, his humor. he is an interesting figure not just for baseball fans, but for students of the last century.
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>> you are an extraordinary figure yourself. if we put all of the books you have written on this table, it would be covered, and many of them would be doubled and tripled. that is a lot of work. >> i haven't had a real jobs since 1968. i haven't had a paycheck since 1968. you have to do it. >> that is something we have not touched on, how entrepreneurialism comes from without. we are trying to institutionalize it, and there is no empirical evidence that comes out of institutions. that is our show for today. we're so glad you joined us. you can look at this show and those that have preceded it at whitehousechronicle.com on the web. you can also read my syndicated columns that i write for "the new york times and." we look very much forward to seeing you at the same time next week.
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until then, all the very best. cheers. >> white house chronicle is produced in collaboration with howard university television. this is a weekly analysis of the news with insight and a sense of humor, featuring llewellyn king,
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linda gasparello and guests. this program may be viewed on pbstations and cable